Opinion: Devon Otto

POSTED: 04/26/12 1:01 PM

Devon Chet Otto is definitely not a nice man. we all know that, since he is serving a 30-year prison sentence for murdering census office employee Stanley Gumbs in 2008. To add insult to injury, Otto told fellow-inmates once that he shot the wrong man, adding something like, oh well, life goes on.

When Otto became unmanageable in the Pointe Blanche prison he was transferred to the Bon Futuro prison in Curacao. That was possible because this happened before St. Maarten became a country and the prison system still fell under the government of the Netherlands Antilles.

Otto did not want to go to Curacao, but once he got there he apparently hooked up with some contacts that had a job for him: to kill two members of a rival drugs gang. Otto fired the shots but he failed as a killer this time because his victims survived the attack.

Now this criminal from St. Kitts, who is in his early thirties, will have to stand trial for the shooting in Curacao. One would expect this trial to take place in Curacao, because that is where the crime was committed and, since he was already in prison, that’s where Otto was also held as a suspect in the shooting.

As we reported yesterday, things will turn out differently, because in its wisdom the Common Court of Justice has decided that the Court in First Instance from Curacao will go in session in St. Maarten to try Otto for the shooting.

Legally, the court has the authority to take such a decision. But the argument seems to be that Curacao does not want to see Otto in its prison system anymore because the man is extremely dangerous. One could easily smell some political pressure on the court to arrive at its decision though we’ll admit in all honesty that we do not have proof for this.

The trial will now take place in June in St. Maarten. Useless to say, bringing a suspect like Otto to the courthouse in town requires extreme security measures. There is no doubt that we will see officers clad in balaclavas with automatic weapons in the streets surrounding the courthouse and in the courthouse itself.

The question that still has to be answered is this one: who is going to pay for all that security? Is Curacao going to offer some financial assistance for taking Otto off their hands?

That would be stylish, but as we all know – stylish is not exactly the style of the government in Willemstad. The argument to let St. Maarten carry the can will most likely be that Devon Otto was our problem to begin with. Had he been kept under control in Pointe Blanche he would never have been relocated to Bon Futuro, and then he would not have shot two fellow-inmates there either.

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